Christian Horror

The new Nightmare on Elm Street came out yesterday. I’m not really afraid of Freddy or Jason or Pinhead. They just don’t scare me. Alright, Freddy a little but the others are bogus. What does scare me is the zombie who looks like a normal person walking down the street. You know the guy – the one who is decked out in an Ashworth, Birkenstocks and Italian designer jeans. Looks normal, sounds normal. But he isn’t normal. One second you’re talking about something innocuous and the next thing you know he’s pummeling you with an axe like Mario on steroids in that old Nintendo game. Can you hear the music in the background? AAAHHHH! That is frightening.

Don’t know what I”m talking about? Let me give you a G rated example. In this scenario I’m the zombie.

You: Did you see the game last night?
Me: No.
You: Yeah, it was a 20 inning stretch.
Me: You know what bothers me? Renée Zellweger. I was watching a movie the other night – with my wife OF COURSE – and she was running in it.  Only, her running was horrible. I’ve seen better form on a flock of geese. Seriously, she was trying to create a monsoon with the sheer force of her wind turbulence. Can you imagine? A monsoon that all started because someone couldn’t take the time to get their running form straight? And how many takes did they do of that scene? 4, 8, 12? That’s the entire hurricane season right there and it as all do to Renée Zellweger. Thanks Renée. Perhaps her public safety announcements should be to herself.
You:  (Pummeled to death)

Did you catch when I pulled out my axe? That’s right; it’s commonly called “axe to grind,” but I like to call it by its shorter name – axe. There are other names that it goes by – rabbit trail, soapbox, lagniappe. We’ve all seen it. Truth is we all have that inner beast lurking inside of us. Most of us have even learned to control it.  Even if we haven’t, the damage typically is not severe. However, there is one place where it can be deadly.

Specifically I have in mind those whose axe is a theological axe. Now typically we might associate theological zealots (like myself) as hammers. I had two professors whose nickname was “The Hammer.” How many hammers do we need? Isn’t there a rule on how many professors IN ONE INSTITUTION get the same nickname. It’s like Scotty Pippen and Michael Jordan wearing 23. Its bad news. Then some inmates in Angola nicknamed me “The Hammer” when I taught them Hebrew. I didn’t have the heart to tell them – I’m no hammer. But at least they made me a parting gift of a gavel (which is the closest thing to a hammer they could make) which hangs in my office to this day. I am THE gavel. (SIGH) Just doesn’t have the same ring. My point is that perhaps the image that comes to mind with theology is the mighty hammer.

However to that lurking theological guy – let’s call him….THE GRINDER! THE GRINDER doesn’t like the hammer at all. Its too blunt and takes way to many blows to have the same effect. When he Reads that the Word of God aka The Bible is like a two-edged sword he thinks of an axe. His has two edges, both honed to precision in the back, damp and drafty room of a Japanese Swordsmith who has miraculously honed to fine precision all the great swords of the last two thousand years – and THE GRINDER’s axe. It’s a wonder.

This is in part a public safety announcement and you need to know how to identify THE GRINDER if you should come across him. Also, it is scary to think that THE GRINDER doesn’t know who he is. He has a split personality. Whisper: It’s so sad. THE GRINDER is androgynous. Here are some ways then to identify THE GRINDER in your life. It could be life or death so read carefully and then please post for public viewing.

1. The Hijacking: This is the easiest way to identify THE GRINDER for this is THE GRINDER’s indigenous surroundings. This type of sighting typically occurs within the walls of a church edifice. There two people are having an innocent conversation concerning God. Let’s listen in:

Lady 1: I just love 1 Corinthians 13. Its all about love. I love love. I love that God is love. God makes me feel cozy like a down comforter, soft and supple from first touch to last.
Lady 2: I like love too. But I’m not seeing the connection between God and a down comforter. God’s love is mighty and powerful and while it is gentle I struggle using material comparisons in its likeness.
THE GRINDER: Hey ladies, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. You know who is fluff? That’s right – Max Lucado. My first requirement in reading good theological books is that you can’t find their books in the Christian Living section at our local unnamed Christian book store of garbage and fluff. In fact, in order for me to read your book You have to either lived on a ship that crossed the ocean hundreds of years ago while singing “Kumbaya,” know someone who died while crossing on a ship whose name rhymed with “staypower”, or had a work translated from German.  Outside of that I’m not interested and let me tell you why point by point!
Ladies: Its THE GRINDER! (They give a horror-movie scream, which there really is not written way to represent it so just think of Jamie Lee Curtis and you should be good. Not that I’ve actually seen whatever movie she is in, because I pee in my pants if I watch Arachnophobia, much less any horror movie, but I’m enough of a pop movie guy to know that she is “The Queen of Scream.” So imagine two of her screaming and you’ll get the celluloid.)

The ladies run off and you’re there…ahem, I mean…THE GRINDER is left there with axe in hand. Sadly, there is no blood on it.

2. The Ranger Mission. This is similar to the hijacking in that it again needs two Christians currently in dialogue. What’s different here is that this scenario cannot take place in a church, coffee shop or home bible study. I meant “small group” for that last one. (Its so hard to keep up with Christian Euphemisms.) The typical place that these attacks occur are at work, the grocery store or while getting acquainted with neighbors. More often then not the innocents are just discovering that each other is a closet Christian. Let’s listen in:
Associate: Thank God for patience and victory with that last customer.
Manager: I know. I soooo wanted to respond like by like. (Looking a little unsure) Its not often people thank God for that kind of thing (using a sarcastic tone to test the waters).
Associate: Well, (looking unsure but emboldened) I mean it when I say “thank God.” No one else to thank.
Manager (Diving in head first): You’re a Christian! Me too! What church do you go to? (For Christians asking what church each other goes to is equivalent to asking someone what job they have, where they went to school, who’s their street gang, etc).
THE GRINDER (Who happens to be a customer): I couldn’t have helped but to  overhear your conversation. I’m a Christian too. I’m so glad you both finally discovered that each other is a Christian. How long have you worked together? One, two or five years? It doesn’t matter. I remember a day when we proudly displayed our love for our Savior on our sleeves because of his love for us. It reminds me what the church has done with the Holy Spirit. All these Pentecostals and Charismatics have ruined the day. Use to be everyone wanted to talk about the Holy Ghost and what he was doing in our lives, but now not a peep from fellow believers on the third member of the Trinity. I can’t even tell you how many people can’t give me a straight forward definition of the Trinity. I bet you two can’t. I won’t even ask. Here let me give it to you (and you can be sure she has)….
Manager and associate: AAHHH!! (like a bunch of little girls as they run away). It’s THE GRINDER!!!

Why call this one “The Ranger Mission?” Because THE GRINDER likes to think of myself – oops, I mean – himself as stealthy like special forces. You know – unseen, unheard, no trace. But in reality, he is like the Rangers – fast, violent and bloody frontal assault. Yes, some blood was on the axe this time.

3. Camouflage = More Carnage: I could just call this one “The Ambush” but what fun is that? Here is the stealthiest act by THE GRINDER. Why? Because this is the only scenario where his victims don’t realize that they have just been bludgeoned to death. This is why THE GRINDER is a zombie, because if you don’t realize you’ve been infected than you may become one of his thousand minions. This scenario requires a group study. I would call it Bible Study, but who studies the Bible anymore? I would call it Sunday School, but then only people with blue hair would understand my reference. Oh, and the ACLJ would get on me for discriminating the six other days of the week.  Let’s listen in:

Group Facilitator: Today’s topic is sanctification in Romans 8.
Guy 1: I love sanctification! Its totally phat. I mean the Bomb. It is CRAZY!
Guy 1’s wife: Honey, you’re embarrassing me. He’s been checking out tweeners lingo online.
Guy 2: What is sanctification:
Group Facilitator: Well, its….
THE GRINDER: What we really have to be on guard against here is the Order of Salvation or Ordo Solutis. Can you actually believe there are people who are arguing that it only has four, five, seven or even eight steps. Everyone who is in tune with the Holy Spirit (the study happened right after his trip to the store – see #2 for reference) knows that we must have Ordo Solutis down pat (slamming fists onto table) in order to defend Sola Fide. (People nodding) This stuff gets me so pumped I might just talk in Latin for the rest of our study.
All: Amen brother!

I’d like to call it a massacre but nobody reported it. Its so sad.

4. Facebook Fricassee: This is the one that really stings us by-standers. I refer to Facebook, but it can happen anywhere. You don’t need email, Facebook, MySpace or twitter to catch on to this crazy attack. It even happens in person. But still I see it most often on Facebook. I guess its because some how Facebook makes the people on the other side a little more distant. I confess I did this once (ONLY ONCE I TELL YOU) where I saw a conversation between a friend and someone I didn’t know and I jumped in thinking both people were Christians and one wasnt’ so my statement totally fell flat and probably undid all of the good lifestyle evangelism my friend had been working on for all those years of that mutual fellowship. Ugg, three years of holy public living thrown down the drain for nothing @#$%#@$##$$ (Curse words for Christians always end with an $. We have an aversion to keeping money).

What happens here is THE GRINDER spends any spare time, which isn’t much, to find a conversation between a Christian and someone-other-than-Christian which has no smattering of God talk within it and drops Jesus into the conversation like a Hiroshima A-Bomb. Truth is by the time the dust settles no one can tell either party apart. We are all blown to smithereens. I actually have a bald spot on my head where I keep scratching every time I see a Facebook Fricassee incident. Typically I like to scratch my head until I figure out the solution to what I’ve been considering. But I’ve got no answers on this one, so I’m losing hair.

And for THE GRINDERS who like this last mode of operation via faceless encounters of Jesus bombs – what are you the King of Proclamation Battle? Do we need to count every little tart remark we can think of to people we don’t know but are linked to via other friends on the web as checks in our evangelism box. Maybe this will help.  I am going to take my situation and make it axiomatic for all your Christian friends. It may not be true, but just trust me on this. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook then you know I’m a Christian. My dialogue and blog center on Christ more than any other topic. When I’m not talking about Jesus, he is always in the background. Trust me on that and give me some latitude to decide when a Jesus bomb needs to be dropped in every conversation. This is as ridiculous as hold someone accountable for not saying “Praise Jesus” after every bite of food we take for we know all things come from God the Father and it was through Jesus that he created the world so he is due all the praise for every little molecule of sustenance we ingest therefore we are obliged to verbally say “Praise Jesus” after every satiating chew of the chops. No, I don’t think so. We are grateful – not grateful enough, but grateful and it does come out so a little latitude.

So there you have it. Beware THE GRINDER. Oh, and yes, I really do think Renée needs to work on her running form. Drives me Bananas.

P.S. I added “satire” as a category for this post because I know someone out there is going to need help with which genre this falls under. To you: You are welcome my friend. You are welcome.

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